Congressman Lynn Westmoreland’s announcement that he will not seek reelection to the U.S. House of Representative has led to a flurry of speculation as to who might seek Westmoreland’s seat.
There are six current state senators, and 10 current state representatives, who live in Westmoreland’s Third District. Several have been mentioned as possible candidates. So has Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager.
Yeager, and State Rep. Randy Nix of LaGrange, confirmed Friday that they are definitely not running for Congress.
"I am honored that some have attached my name to an important job as our congressman for the Third District,” Yeager said. "My friend, Lynn Westmoreland, has served the people of this district honorably and admirably for the past 11-plus years. He will definitely be missed as our representative and I thank him for his service and I admire him for wanting to spend time with his family and in our community."
Several months ago, Yeager announced that he will seek another term as sheriff. "I love what I do and I enjoy working for the citizens of Coweta County and the men and women of the Sheriff's Office. I have the best job in the world and get to work with and assist people each and every day,” Yeager said. “I wouldn’t change that for any job in Washington, D.C.”
Cowetan Matt Brass, who currently serves as Westmoreland’s chief of staff, is exploring a run for either Westmoreland’s seat or possibly another seat that might open up as the incumbent runs for Congress. And State Sen. Marty Harbin of Tyrone said that he was in the “praying stages.”
Harbin said he’d like to let things settle down a bit. Running for Congress is a big step. Harbin was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2014. “As my wife said, it would take two burning bushes,” Harbin said Friday.
“I’m not saying no, but I’m just going to wait and see who all decides to run,” said Brass, who ran for state senate in 2011, losing to Mike Crane, R-Newnan.”If I feel like I’d be a better candidate than them, I’ll consider it.”
“You’ve got to think every state rep and every state senator and really every elected official that is touching the district is going to be thinking about a run,” Brass said. “It’s not every day a congressional seat comes open. I think everybody that would even have a prayer of winning it is thinking about it. You’ve probably got several others who don’t have a prayer that are thinking about it. I’m not sure which of those boats I fall into,” Brass said. “I’m going to kind of see how the cookie crumbles and find out where my place might be, if there is one. I’m in no rush."
Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, who represents a portion of Coweta County, did not respond to a request for comment. His assistant expressed surprise that the question was asked this soon after Westmoreland’s announcement. Before being elected to the House, Ramsey had worked for Westmoreland’s predecessor, Congressman Mac Collins.
State Sen. Josh McKoon of Columbus has risen to prominence in the Senate since being elected in 2010. He did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Sen. Crane or Rep. Lynn Smith, R-Newnan.
Rep. David Stover, R-Palmetto, said Thursday that he was “shocked and surprised” regarding Westmoreland’s decision, and hasn’t given any consideration towards seeking the seat.
Qualifying for the congressional seat, as well as state and local partisan offices, will be March 7-11.